Michael Williamson Bio

Michael Williamson

Michael Williamson 
President and Chief Executive Officer, United Way of Southeast Louisiana

Michael L. Williamson serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of United Way of Southeast Louisiana serving Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes.

Before coming to UWSELA in April 2009 as Chief Operating Officer, he served as Vice President of Field Leadership at United Way of America (UWA) in Alexandria, VA.  Williamson provided overall management and leadership to the UWA Hurricane Response and Recovery Fund developed in Hurricane Katrina’s wake. 

As COO of UWSELA, Williamson was responsible for all fund-raising campaign activities and related committees.  He oversaw campaign and marketing staff to assure United Way conducted an effective annual campaign.

Under Williamson’s leadership as CEO, United Way developed a Blueprint for Prosperity, a plan which informs all of organization’s work with a framework to eradicate poverty in Southeast Louisiana and a bold vision of equitable communities where all individuals are healthy, educated, and economically stable. The Blueprint included an expansion of the traditional United Way granting process with the addition of collaborative grants to drive systems-level change and advance the speed at which the needle is moved on poverty.

Williamson is committed to a focus on community outcomes as the top strategy for increasing accountability and maintaining United Ways’ leadership in philanthropy. He has worked to strengthen United Way’s public-private partnerships at the local, state, and federal level to create scalable community building efforts while creating and leveraging the state’s only United Way advocacy program, which has been responsible for countless legislative advancements since its inception.

Among his accomplishments, Williamson created United Way’s Million-Dollar Roundtable, whose initiation requires a gift of $1M. The group has grown from a single member to six distinguished individuals and couples who continue to lead United Way’s investments and help to inform the organization’s fundraising strategy. 

Some of United Way’s most significant challenges and successes have come in the wake of disaster – Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Isaac, the BP Oil Spill, the August 2016 Floods, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. In a matter of weeks, Williamson led United Way’s immediate COVID-19 relief efforts, which generated more than $7.5 million in local community support through crisis grants, volunteerism, advocacy, and nonprofit partner funding. Williamson is serving on Governor John Bel Edwards’ Resilient Louisiana Economic and Community Development Task Force to help develop solutions to strengthen the state’s economy. 

Williamson has over 30 years of executive level nonprofit management experience, 26 of those years served in the United Way system. He has served as President of United Way of Aiken County, Aiken, SC, and Resource Development Director/Executive Director of ATC Foundation, Aiken Technical College. Aiken, SC.